Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bring out the Bubbles - more Sparkling Shiraz reviews

It is becoming an Australian tradition to have Sparkling Shiraz at Christmas (and New Year). It's a wine which males love for its red wine flavours and the ladies, for the bubbles. So all in all a perfect choice that sits well with most guests at your dinner table, and it complements many different foods.

Much like Julian (see review below) I am a fan of having it with duck. But as Philip White suggested, it would be just as lovely with roast pork. It really is a versatile wine!

Thus, this wine was chosen by two of our favourite Queenslanders to indulge in during the holiday season. Please see their reviews below.

NV Karra Yerta Sparkling Shiraz

It's Christmas day and I'm taking time out between preparing lunch and relaxing to note my reaction to this wine, just opened and to be consumed with the main meal (in my case, confit of duck).

A joyous gush of mousse, quite electric in its vibrancy and pleasingly voluminous. I can't help smiling at the lurid purple of many sparkling Shiraz wines; this one had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. This isn't a tits-out style, though. The nose is subtle, showing spice, tart blackberries, a hint of fortified wine, some aged characters and a general impression of complexity combined with fresh berry juice.

The palate is equally measured, showing real elegance despite the fizz. Mercifully, it's not a sweet wine; in fact, the savouriness of the flavour profile combined with chalky, abundant tannins creates quite the opposite impression. It's all quite intense; more blackberries, spice and various oak-derived flavours mix on the middle palate. Riding above it all is a clean juiciness that smoothes over the wine's sophisticated framework, ensuring you could just as easily linger over each sip as slam it down fast, per your mood or the occasion.

Very glad to have the opportunity to taste this wine on a special day of the year; I believe only twenty cases exist. Make haste. And Merry Christmas to you all.

Price: $A35
Closure: Crown seal
Source: Sample

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Miracle on Murray Street & a new review for our Sparkling Shiraz!

As a follow-up to my previous post, regarding my attempt to open a new shop showcasing the wines of the Collective group, I am pleased and relieved to announce that sensibility did shine through, and despite the initial objections not being dropped, the two objectors lawyer and myself were able to come to a mutual agreement and thus, the Collective Barossa shop will be opening very soon!

My time-frame was delayed whilst trying to work out exactly what was happening, so my original plans of painting and moving the furniture in were moved back but now that all the legalities are sorted and my new licence has been granted, I can move forward and so this week will be a team effort to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Of course, having so many willing helpers is a bonus, despite it being the week before Christmas! I am incredibly lucky that many members of the community stood behind me in this venture and provided incredible support, in every way, during the rather stressful past fortnight. I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from around the world and that definitely has given me the extra boost needed to find the motivation to find time to take this huge task on at this rather mad time of year.
For more information on the Collective Barossa shop please visit this page:

From our entire family, including our much loved labrador, we would also like to wish you all a very Merry and Safe Christmas and New Year! And speaking of Christmas and New Year, here is our very first review on the perfect wine to put on your table over the holiday season - our NV Sparkling Shiraz.

Our Sparkling Shiraz has been dedicated to two wonderful gentlemen who were dear friends of our family and are unfortunately no longer with us; Mr. Geoff Cotton, who along with his friend Sandy, discovered the fatal tree disease Mundulla Yellows in 1979 and Dr. Frank Podger who discovered Jarrah Die-Back in 1964. We hope that through this dedication they, and their hard work, are not forgotten. They are both mentioned on the back label of this wine.
The photograph on the left below is of Dr. Podger and my husband, sons and dog in 2000 or 2001 on one of Frank's trips to the Barossa when I helped him map the progress of Mundulla Yellows in the area.

This review was published in this weekend's The Independent Weekly and was written by Philip White. Tasting notes will be put on our website in the next few days.

Karra Yerta Wines NV Sparkling Shiraz

$35, 14.5% alc/vol, crown seal, 94 points.

A joint effort of the indomitable Linke family with Nathan Schulz and Colin Sheppard, this black beauty comes from ancient vines on the top of the Barossa Range. It's never mushy or sweet like too many dark sparklers, instead offering a blitz of black bitters and mystery, as if somebody'd managed to distil an entire valley of blackberry vines, thorns, ripe berries, and all. It has a dark vegetal tone, like tomato or blackberry leaf. It's been liqueuered with vintage port, but still finishes with adults-only tannins and staunch natural acidity, leaving the mouth puckered and wanting. Forget the turkey: this would do best with a traditional Barossa ovenful of juicy roast porkfat, crackling and beets. Dribble.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Importance of the Generations

The past few weeks have provided some interesting and challenging moments for us at Karra Yerta. Some have been good, most frustrating, but in the end, all of them with a common denominator - the importance of keeping and promoting the heritage of our beautiful area.

Last Thursday I was fortunate to attend the Barossa Generations Lunch at Chateau Tanunda where the admirable Jane Ferrari of Yalumba Wines was MC hosting a panel of impressive local identities including Prue Henschke, Stefan Ahrens, Bob McLean and John Duvall who were available to discuss and answer questions relating to the importance of families encouraging their younger generations to take a hands-on role in their family businesses to not only ensure that the family businesses survive into the future but also that new and fresh ideas are implemented where possible so that we can all work together to increase the regions appeal to tourists and locals alike.

Ironic then that a wonderful new business venture that I have been working on for the past four months has been stalled indefinitely by concerns (and subsequent objections in regards to my application for an appropriate liquor licence) from two large companies that already have a large presence and holding in the area.

It was my intention to open a shop in Tanunda before Christmas this year which would enable four small family wineries to have a combined cellar door outlet which would tie in with the beautiful location it was in - the Barossa Museum. My vision was to provide tourists with a total heritage experience i.e. being able to taste and buy bottled wines from 5th and 6th generation descendants of the original settlers of the Barossa which would have been a wonderful thing for the families and the museum. At this stage it appears that a pre-Christmas opening is not possible and at the worst case scenario, it could even take months before we can open our doors.
That is a shame for all the wineries concerned, the Museum and also for my two sons who I had planned to have help me over the Christmas holiday period. The experience for them alone would have been priceless and is indeed an important part of the whole Generations concept as ultimately it is my dream for the new business to have them involved in it, both now and in the future.

So that leaves the question as to where is the Barossa really heading as far as the Generations go? I do hope that common sense prevails in this instance and that a mutual agreement can be reached between myself and the parties opposing my application. In the meantime I am hoping that our loyal customers can continue to support us by purchasing our wines directly from us. I will keep you all updated via this blog and my regular newsletters as to the progress on what could and should be a wonderful thing for the entire region, and ultimately make our lovely area even more of an enticing place to visit.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Lazy trip to lovely McLaren Vale and beyond.

Life is completely crazy here at the moment - I have a new business about to start (along with still running many aspects of the winery, and indeed, the family, house and garden) and took a few days off for some important business and even more important leisure before I land head first into a whirlwind next six months. I amaze myself at how much I can squeeze into a mere forty-eight hours sometimes!

I left the Barossa at 4pm on Tuesday with a car load of sparkling shiraz to deliver to
Glasscraft Print. The wonderful manager, Bronte, helped me to unload the car and then gave me a very brief look at the terrific facilities at his business at Mount Barker before I headed further south to Kuitpo for a very important meeting with someone I had been wanting to meet for a very long time.

When I arrived at the Lazy Ballerina cellar door in the middle of the magnificent Kuitpo Forest, there was absolutely nothing lazy about the man behind the label, James Hook. Despite having worked a full day at his other job as a viticulturist, there he was, while waiting for me to arrive, busily loading the wheelbarrow with mulch and tending to his family's incredibly beautiful garden.

James graciously took me on a tour of the Lazy Ballerina
cellar door and gardens while I happily clicked away on my over-worked digital camera trying to encapsulate even a little of the beauty around me. I was truly stunned by not only him, but also by all the hard work he and his parents had done to create such an incredible place which after bushfires many years ago, had left little to work with. Totally inspirational! And that was before trying his wines. I had always refused to try the Lazy Ballerina wines until I had met the man himself so needless to say, when we left to continue our journey to a mutual friend's house for a wonderful dinner, I didn't walk out empty handed. I highly recommend James' wines to everyone!

The next morning, after a peaceful and relaxing slumber,
belly still full of fine food and wines from the previous night, I arose, and headed further south to McLaren Vale. My stop here was to another equally incredible place called Fall From Grace which is run by an effervescent lady named Gill Gordon-Smith. She sells the most divine range of international wines and also runs wine education classes - it's a must-do stop on your list if you are visiting McLaren Vale. She also happens to be the Spieglau distributor for trade so I now had the glasses to accompany my Lazy Ballerina wines. Could it get any better? Yes it could.

By early afternoon I had left McLaren Vale, headed further north again, past
Yangarra where I'd previously had a look at the amazing new winery being built with James Hook, tour-guided by Philip White, and headed east toward the historic town of Strathalbyn before taking a sharp south turn to end up at Clayton where I spent the late afternoon and evening with my lovely new friend Annabelle. One of South Australia's most talented artists, Annabelle is as vibrant and gorgeous as the art she produces and I couldn't have thought of a better way to end my very short break than to spend it with her.

In less than forty-eight hours I had met two incredible new people, spent time with two good friends, and throughout, enjoyed the best of what South Australia has to offer - fine food, fine wines and great hospitality. Now, back home and back to the grind, I feel much more refreshed and ready to face the next month which is surely going to be quite mad... but more about that in my coming posts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another riesling review and a road trip!

I don't think any winery owner ever gets tired of reading great reviews of their wines and each of the writers have their favourites. From my point of view it is really interesting to see what their tastes are, and also, over time, how their reviews stand when the wines age.

The recent spate of riesling reviews we have had from Queensland writers Jeremy Pringle and Julian Coldrey keep me ploughing through the work load even when I am struggling as I have been for the past five weeks with ear/nose and throat afflictions. There truly is nothing like positive words to get one back up on their feet, literally. So I am proud to post yet another glorious review - this one again from Jeremy, but this time for our 2007 Eden Valley Riesling.

2007 Karra Yerta Wines Eden Valley Riesling

Eden Valley 12.0% Screwcap $25

Was on a bit of an Eden Valley Riesling kick last night. Sort of have been for at least a month now actually...

These Karra Yerta's have all been excellent. I've probably enjoyed the 2006 & the 2009 the most, for very different reasons. I think that this one, like the 2009 will become something pretty special in the cellar. Not that it's difficult to drink now.

Surprisingly geared more towards lemons and granny smiths on the nose and palate. There is still some Eden Valley lime, bathsalts and river pebbles but it's all currently very restrained and tightly wound. There is no mistaking the "quiet" intensity there on the palate though, suggesting a bright future.

It's all very linear and narrow for the moment, with some enjoyable spice and a touch of unripe peach and peach stone towards the mid palate. A little bit of toast is starting to appear, but I'd put this one away for now. The length is really good and all the elements are in place. It just needs time. Patience my friends, patience...

Winery Website-
On that note, I am pleased to announce that I am taking a few short days break away on business (and pleasure) to the magnificent McLaren Vale area. I rarely get time for such luxuries but have managed to tie in a few business appointments with a visit to a lovely lady friend where no doubt we will enjoy an evening of beautiful food and wine, from the Barossa and the Vale areas. One of the highlights no doubt will be dinner tomorrow night (after a visit to the cellar door) with James Hook (Lazy Ballerina).

I have been wanting to meet James for some time as he is quite remarkable in what he does, writing wise, and also wine wise. Needless to say, I can't wait! More info about him and his wines, and indeed his lovely area, on my return later on in the week. But for now, I am off to pack one final wine order and then try to get some sleep before an early start to drop off our Sparkling Shiraz for labelling on the way to the Vale and a few other important errands. The beach is calling!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A great media article and another review!

It's terribly hot in the ranges at the moment and it's a good time to catch up on work inside so I have been doing just that; emailing, updating our mailing list and other things, and in between finding yet more wonderful reviews and articles so here they are (many thanks to Julian and Jeremy for being so supportive of our small family business:):

and Jeremy's review of our 2006 Eden Valley Riesling:

2006 Karra Yerta Wines Eden Valley Riesling

Eden Valley 13% Screwcap $25

Some colour development going on here with yellows and a trace of gold. But it still possesses youthful hues. Aromatics are assertive, with lime cordial, florals, toast and some chalk & wet slate. There is a touch of kero, but only a touch.

On the palate the wine is clearly in its groove. It opens up with rich lime cordial, lemon and toast then some attractive spice hits on the mid palate along with a drop of orange oil and smidgen of white and yellow peach. The finish is VERY long with spiced granny smith apple, a teaspoon of honey and that glorious toast continuing to add the charm that I seek in aged Riesling. There are still some chalky, slatey notes and the acid provides more than ample balance to the richer and fuller aspects of the palate.

For me, this is just about bang on where I want my Riesling to be if I'm not drinking it young. Sure it could go some more years, especially if kero/petrol notes are not off-putting to you (and as I said, I don't think they are that prominent), but the current balance between softness, toast, citrus, slate and richness is extremely seductive.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A summer night at the Argentinian Bar and Grill

Last night we attended a wine-tasting dinner with our Collective counterparts at the Argentinian Bar and Grill in Adelaide. What a superb way to end a summers day. Our wine-tasting went for a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening and then we all stayed for dinner accompanied by some other guests. Many people who passed through had not heard of any of our wines before, and thoroughly enjoyed our range of Barossa and Eden Valley Wines. It still is very important for small wineries to hit the road and promote ourselves as our advertising and marketing budgets are miniscule in comparison to most of the other wineries. As a bonus, who doesn't like to get together with friends and enjoy a fine night of wining and dining?

The food and atmosphere of the Argentinian Bar and Grill is divine. Steak sandwiches like nothing you have ever seen before, steaks that hardly fit on a plate and many other delightful dishes. James and I both had a lovely duck pasta dish with beetroot sauce
and sweet potato crisps.

A finer table of
tappas and wines you would not see anywhere and we settled in for quite a long dinner. The service was sensational and the prices more than reasonable.

We all highly recommend it and are considering holding a Collective wine dinner there (for the public) in the future. If you haven't been there yet, it's well worth a visit not only for the sensational food but also for what is surely becoming one of the most spectacular wine lists in Adelaide.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Southerners head north for a day of Barossa hospitality

The beautiful spring weather disappeared last week when a brief burst of summer (and unfortunately the emergence of brown snakes in the area) hit us all unexpectedly. Suddenly, the red wines were discarded, and the rieslings brought out. One of my most pleasurable pastimes is to sit under my pergola, with the scent of petunias, jasmine and carnations delicately wafting toward me as I slowly sip a glass of cool, not cold, Eden Valley Riesling.

So in light of the fact that Saturday was in the mid-thirties, it was rather appropriate to indulge in that lovely drop whilst entertaining a delightful group of guests from the southern vales of our very fine wine producing state. The day started very early for our visitors and I'm almost certain that by the time they reached the high range of Randall Town, where the Karra Yerta vineyard is located, they were more than ready and willing to go for a trek down the hill for a quick tour of the vineyard before heading back down the hill to Argent Town for an informal tasting in our old red gum stable.

The host for the day, Philip White, had gathered together a tribe of his friends and fellow wine lovers to show them some of the secret gems of the area and Karra Yerta was most fortunate to be considered one of them. A more pleasant group of people would be hard to meet and it was really interesting to see their opinions on our regions style of wines, particularly the rieslings. We had a wonderful few hours with them, with our sons and one of their friends providing live music before the bus headed a little further north along the range. James and I were kindly invited to join the group for lunch and so we gathered yet more wine and headed off ourselves. Already a perfect day but it was about to get even better.

By the time we arrived, the rest of the group had already been greeted by the very hospitable Bob and Wilma McLean and were comfortably settling in to yet more tastings in the lovely McLean shed whilst the matter of one of Bob's famous Long Lunches was arranged. A six foot long mettwurst was definitely the highlight of the dinner table but the beautiful array of other local produce and salads did not fade too far away out of the limelight. A delightful lunch, including a birthday cake for Wilma (made by one of the guests and ever so carefully transported from the vales), was had by all and the wines served with it were sensational and made me exceptionally proud of our unique and beautiful area. To top it off, Colin Forbes (pictured at right), all round nice guy and rieslingmeister extraordinaire, hosted a vertical tasting of the McLeans Farm rieslings. Now that was something to behold!

Soon the bus headed off to the next stop, Greenock Creek, and the locals amongst us stayed to help the McLeans tidy up after what was surely one of the most enjoyable grass-roots wine experiences that could be had. Many thanks to Philip and his friends for being such wonderful guests for the day. I'm sure that it will be remembered fondly by all who attended, including us and the McLeans.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Bronze Medal and another superb review!

It's often said that good reviews and/or medals aren't enough to sell your wine, that it still depends on legwork. Well, our legwork for October has been James working tirelessly in the vineyard, and it is looking very tidy for it, and mine has been again, processing orders. I am simply amazed at the interest in our wines since the reviews of the past few months and again, I have more wonderful news to announce.

Firstly, on the weekend, we found out that we won a Bronze Medal for our 2009 Eden Valley Riesling at the
2009 Canberra International Riesling Challenge. It was our first ever entry into this well-respected wine show so it was an incredible surprise.

Secondly, last night I found yet another sensational review for the same wine. This one is from Philip White, a renown wine-journalist from South Australia. Philip has spent much of his time recently focusing on terroir, as you will note in his review from his website Drankster below.

Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling

$??; 13% alcohol; screw cap; drunk 17-20 OCT 09; 94+++ points

Marie and James Linke tend this tiny patch of 80 year old vines on their windswept ridge above Gooseburg in the wild High Barossa. And tend IS the word. You wouldn't put a machine near this priceless vitcultural jewel of a garden. It seems almost oblivious to drought or the Devil, or whatever evils nature can throw at it: year-in, year-out, it oozes incredibly fine, tense, taught riesling. No irrigation. Hardly any grapes. Berries like lentils. And this is even more along those lines than usual.

It smells of the sandstone and schist of that hairy ridge, with the gentlest citrus blossom, the pith of limes and lemons, faint banana, dried apple, freshly bitten nashi pear, the tiniest slice of jackfruit ... I dunno. It confounds me. Then tip some of it into you, and all that promise seems suddenly compacted and refined, drawn out and tensioned, like a steel marine cable. Or maybe a really good German tape-wound jazz guitar string. There is no compromise. You might expect it to suddenly twang. But it doesn't. It just seems to wind tighter and tighter, and stretch longer, until eventually the furry tannins move up, kinda wrapping all that tension with velvet.

It's a beautiful austere cold Nico of a wine which shouldn't be served too chilly: this princess brings her own chill. And she'll keep bringing it for many many years. Like 25. Deutschland Uber Alles! Stunning.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The road-trip's over and the reviews continue.

I have just returned from my annual four day holiday to Melbourne for the Hawthorn Best and Fairest Dinner which is held at the Crown Casino on the weekend after the AFL Grand Final. I must admit it was extremely difficult to get there this year, more than usual, due to large sales volumes in the past weeks (more invoicing, posting, etc for me to process before I left) and the passing of a friend also put a dark cloud over the week and for a few days, time seemed to stand still.

Due to my hectic work schedule, and the additional need to have some time out (my own space and some time to reflect) I decided to drive to Victoria this time and along the way spent a few nights with some good friends in country Victoria. I also met some wonderful new friends; a lovely man by the name of Barry who was until recently, a farmer in Bendigo, and a beautiful lady who guided me out of Bendigo, literally. Many thanks to Wendy and her daughter who spent the best part of half an hour of their own time driving and chatting to me before I started heading toward Wycheproof. Wendy is currently doing a hospitality course in Bendigo so if there are any readers on here that are looking for a bubbly enthusiastic lady to employ please contact me to get her details.

The actual Melbourne part of my trip was a whirlwind and most exhausting but I did manage to catch up with some fellow Hawthorn friends and also squeeze a wine appointment in. Most promising indeed as it looks like our wine stocks in Melbourne will be increasing in the next few months which is great as most of our wines have ended up in New South Wales and Queensland lately.

The photo with this entry is of a sidewalk artist in Melbourne - the art aspect being one of the many reasons I love that city. It is such a wonderful time of year to visit Melbourne... For now though, it's back to the office to work through my mountain of bookwork. Just before I sign off for the day however, I would like to share with you yet another superb review of our riesling by Jeremy Pringle:

Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling
Eden Valley 13.0% Screwcap CD $25
I'm beginning to think that writing up a note on a wine is more difficult if you've already read some good descriptions of it already. In this case, I've read three. It helps if the wine is awesome though. So here is my take-

The remarkable (lack of) colour is something to behold in person, even if you've been told to expect it. And I thought the 2008 was pristine...
Very tightly coiled, yet it's a complete joy to smell. Wild finger limes, chalk, Granny Smith apples and some spice are all beguiling. But it has a real X factor in its oil like characters, somehow present on both the nose and palate. It's a non-oily oil, if you will. Like those sunscreen lotions that finish dry. It lends a certain soft counter-point to the racy acidity of the wine.

The texture is quite sublime, with the liquid caressing the tongue gently on one hand but invigorating the whole mouth on the other. In fact the intense flavours and acidity presented themselves at the back and top of my mouth. It's hard to describe it really. Suffice to say I'd not experienced it before, but I wish to experience it many more times in the future. The crescendo on the back palate is tremendously enjoyable and somewhat breathtaking. I was left mouthing an inaudible "wow" as the finish lingered. And linger it did. Persistence personified. I'm not going into technical details or mentioning anything other than the wine here, because it was the stuff in the bottle that gave me such excitement. After a pretty ordinary week to be honest. This was, in its own way, every bit as good as any white wine I've tasted this year. And I've had some blinders. 130 cases only. Go. Buy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The riesling revolution continues!

It seems that all of my recent posts on here are ratings and reviews which is rather exciting! I am off to Melbourne this weekend for a well earned break, and a bit of wine business on the side, but not too much. So in between sending off orders for the week, and starting to pack, I am taking a short break to post yet another review which was received last weekend.

This one is from Andrew Graham, a lovely fellow from Sydney who is a self-confessed rie
sling lover:

Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling
$25, Screwcap, 13%

I'm getting to this a bit late, with two renowned tasters,
Gary Walsh & Julian Coldrey, having already announced the quality of this wine during the week. Suffice to say, I am going to merely add to the chorus and say that this is a very impressive dry Riesling, and perhaps the best yet under the Karra Yerta label.

What's most impressive here is the acidity, with the whole wine driven to greatness by its startling acid backbone (witness the pH and TA levels - 2.82! and 7.85g/ltr). In the case of this Karra Yerta Riesling, the blinding citrussy acid structure makes for a wine of serious impact, which, when coupled with grapefruit, lemon and apple Martini regional Riesling fruit characters, makes for a pure and simply beautiful Riesling in the intensely dry Eden Valley style.

Winning wine for drinking over the medium term +. 18.8

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rain, hail and more reviews

I have spent the day inside, working at the computer, listening to the rain and hail pounding on the roof. The hail is a concern as the young buds and delicate growth on the vines can easily be damaged so I hope, as many other vignerons do, that it calms down a bit soon. It doesn't sound promising though as the forecast is for rough weather for most of the weekend.

The good news for the day though, besides yet more orders coming in due to the influx of incredible reviews of the past week, is that we have received yet another review, and while posting that one I will also post a very recent review on our 2006 Shiraz Cabernet. Please read Jeremy's reviews below and have a look at his website as it is full of many interesting reviews:)

Karra Yerta Wines 2008 Eden Valley Riesling

Eden Valley 13% Screwcap $25

The grapes are from 80 year old vines. Cool. I hear the 2009 of this could be even better. But this is a tasting note on the 2008, so enough about that.

This Riesling is so pure and pristine, its chastity makes me wonder if I should enjoy it as much as I do. Oh well, I'm not one for guilt so I did.

The extremely pale colour is indicative of the restraint inherent in the wine. Everything is suggested, nothing is stentorian :) Quite the opposite of me in some ways. It's penetrating without being sharp and it carries its lime, spice and bathsalts with aplomb. There is some pear but it doesn't broaden nor sweeten the palate, it just whispers its name as you drink. The spiced granny smith apple appears more as the wine opens up. And yes, there are river pebble like traits.

Amongst wine tragics, sorry enthusiasts, I sense that it is very hip to like this sort of wine. Austerity has cultural capital amongst the wine media at the moment. Well, this wine gives the austere a good name. It is a happy time when fashion and quality collide. Karra Yerta are deserving of all the praise they are receiving and I feel lucky to be able to drink their wines.

Winery Website-

2006 Karra Yerta Wines Shiraz Cabernet

Barossa & Eden Valley SA 14.5% Screwcap CD $25- Tasted 2/9/09

I'm a bit late on the Karra Yerta bandwagon really. You'll find better tasting notes of this wine over at The Wine Front- (subscription needed, and it's more than worth it) and Full Pour-

I tasted this after a raft of amazing Barrosan reds that were presented at Tyson Stelzer's and Grant Dodd's "Barossa Wine Traveller" and the couple of glasses I had last night were wonderfully satisfying as a night cap. You'd never pick the ABV, it's all in balance. 87% Barossan and Eden Valley Shiraz, 13% Eden Valley Cabernet.

Blackberries, dried flowers, cooked meat, violets, plums, a touch of Cabernet leaf and some chocolate. All complex and in harmony. Sweet/savoury interplay is very good and the structure seems equal parts acid and tannin. Very impressive for a wine at this price point. Very impressive for a wine full stop. Lovely long finish via those tannins, which started to kick in around the mid palate. I liked that after the juicy entry. Order some, or buy some at Bar Barossa in Queen Street, Brisbane. I don't believe there is a lot of it made (170 cases is all), which is a shame in some ways.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two new reviews for the 2009 Eden Valley Riesling.

There's nothing quite like logging on to your computer after a hectic day and finding an email full of praise for your product. It lifts the spirits like nothing else, especially when it is still so difficult to be in the wine industry. Times are tough and as many of you know, James and I are certainly not driven by profit, and when you consider that our wines are retailed at the $25 mark (with the exception of our NV Sparkling Shiraz, which on release will be $35 - only 15 cases produced!) it is pretty obvious that we are pursuing our dream of making great wine purely out of passion (or perhaps pure insanity).

Here are the two latest reviews; one from Gary Walsh (Winefront):
and one from Julian Coldrey: (

Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling

Tuesday, Sep 22 2009 · Posted in Eden Valley, riesling
By Gary Walsh

A whopping 128 cases produced from these venerable (80+ years) old vines in 2009. I’m thinking this is the best KY Riesling vintage yet? Well there’s certainly no trouble getting well lubricated off a wine of this quality anyway.

It opens with a slightly smelly case of asafoetida-like reduction, which is perhaps why they recommend decanting it on the back of the bottle? Regardless, with a little time in glass it comes well and truly good. It’s almost water clear in colour (is that an oxymoron?) with crystalline and classic Eden Valley Riesling flavours of lemon and lime coupled with a baby oil fragrance, kaffir lime leaf and a flicker of aniseed. It’s a crisp mountain stream over river pebbles sort of wine - pure, long and ultra-refreshing - racy, yet flavoursome. I recommend you get into and onto this. And promptly.

Other vintages.

Rated : 95 Points
Tasted : Sep09
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $25
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2009 - 2019+

Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling

Posted by Julian Coldrey ( 22nd September 2009

The Karra Yerta vineyard has a flavour that is partly Eden Valley but otherwise all its own. This is the third vintage I've tasted and there's a striking family resemblance between the wines. The
2008 was full and soft, communicating a luxuriant plushness while remaining in the mainstream of Eden style. The 2005 was austere and acidic, clearly built for the long haul, and what one might consider a more typical wine of the region. This most recent edition is different again, yet its core of pastel, shimmering fruit is all Karra Yerta, clearly showing the terroir of this special vineyard.

A most interesting range of aromas -- watermelon, apples, lychee, cut grass, spice, lemon -- seem to glisten and evolve from the glass like shiny scented pillows. There's excellent complexity and cohesiveness for such a young Riesling; this is absolutely ready to drink now as a striking aromatic white, although I'm quite sure it could take a good deal of bottle age if one likes that sort of thing.

A wallop of acidity announces the palate in no uncertain terms; this is definitely a young Riesling, but it's not undrinkably tart as some can be. Instead, its fine texture and delicious sourness present alongside quite rich, full fruit flavours of a similar character to the nose, but for more prominent apple and lemon flavours. The middle palate is strikingly intense, yet what I like most is the shape and flow. Generous flavour is contained within a couture-like silhouette that cuts a dashing figure through the mouth. Everything's in line, flowing as it should, with perfect control. An intriguing note, savoury and spicy in equal measure, kicks through the after palate before a sour, delicious finish of very impressive length rounds it all off. Indeed, this seems to go on and on for ages.

I don't pretend to be an objective taster by any means, so although this is a quality wine made by a passionate producer in tiny quantities, it all comes to nought, because drinking this is like falling in love. Nothing else matters.

Karra Yerta Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A new review and a new medal!

So, in following up to my previous entry, I am exceptionally proud to announce that we have won a Silver Medal at the 2009 Barossa Wine Show for our Karra Yerta Wines 2006 Shiraz Cabernet! At 52.5 points, it was equal second in its class. As this was our first time entering the Barossa Wine Show we were totally flabbergasted. Here is a link to the online Barossa Wine Show results book:

Our other entry, the 2009 Karra Yerta Wines Eden Valley Riesling scored 44 points and stood on equal footing with many other fine rieslings including some from Henschke and Yalumba so despite not getting a medal, we were still really happy with the result. To top it off, on the same day that we discovered our BWS results we also received the following fabulous review from Andrew Graham ( Thanks Andrew for your glowing report!

Karra Yerta Shiraz Cabernet 2006 (Barossa & Eden Valley, SA)
$25, Screwcap, 14.5%

There are, according to the Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Directory, 2320 wineries in Australia (as of this year). Karra Yerta, with an annual production of only several hundred cartons, is one of the smallest amongst them (the website tagline is 'one of Australia's smallest wineries').

What Karra Yerta shares with Australia's finest wineries, however, is character. Character derived from old (up to 80 year old) vineyards, in an exceptional grape growing area (Chris Ringland's 'Three Rivers vineyard' is several hundred metres away, with the original Pewsey vineyards also close by) and produced with passion (converse with the energetic Marie Linke, caretaker of the vineyard with her partner James, and you will get a sense of this).

The ultimate results are fine quality, handmade, unpretentious wines, made in tiny quantities and happily representative of the patch of dirt they were produced of.

A formula that sits very easily with me.

This Shiraz Cabernet then is produced from 87% estate Shiraz, blended with some Barossa floor Shiraz and topped up with 13% Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Surprisingly this spent 24 months in oak, a heroic level for what is a $25 bottle of wine, but it doesn't do this any disservice.

Judging by the colour alone, this looks like quite a beast: It pours deep blood red and is rimmed with youthful purple. The nose matches the sentiment, with rich blackberry jam, vanillan oak and a twist of formic. It smells deep and warm and cosseting and, well, Barossan.


Matching the nose, the palate is rich and sweetly red berried, the oak driving the palate weight forward and edging it with vanillan sweetness. Initially I thought this was just a tad too obvious and full, but the hints of Eden Valley milk chocolate through the middle had me hooked.

Just to reinforce the quality, the tail end has a great flow of flavour and thrust, coupled with a complete absence of heat (good to see in a 14.5% ABV red).

Nice again.

It is hard then to argue with any element of this red. The oak is a bit prominent and sweet, but I'm not worried about it integrating, so there is little case for any discordance. Really all I can do is join the chorus and rave about how good this is.

So what you get is a genuine Barossan red, that will cellar well, with plenty of the aforementioned character and appeal, for just $25 a bottle. Bargain. 18.2/93

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spring is here... and the tastings have begun.

Since my last entry, James and I have progressed with the pruning and tying on and the vineyard is looking fairly tidy; just a day or two's mowing to be done yet.

In between that workload, we entered some of our wines into a few local events; the first being the "Taste of Spring Eden Valley Riesling Tasting" which was a trade event for winery representatives and media, and the second being the 2009 Barossa Wine Show.

The Barossa, of course, was at it's beautiful best. Springtime here is really lovely and the visitors to these events were not disappointed. With the events located at the Eden Valley Institute, Chateau Tanunda and Yalumba Wines, the historical beauty of the venues only complemented the many superb wines being offered. The photo above is of one of the tables at the 2009 Barossa Wine Show Exhibitor's Tasting at Yalumba last Friday and the one below is of setting up the tables ready for a divine lunch prepared by Gill Radford (of Radford Wines) after a morning tasting seventy-five different Eden Valley rieslings from thirty-five different producers. The riesling tasting was held on Thursday.

I may be slightly biased but the long
tables set up with the assortment of rieslings, including rare museum stocks, was something to be in awe of and I must admit that I was amazed that there were so many. Although I was incredibly busy for most of the day helping Gill and her staff with the setting up, serving and clearing, I did manage to taste quite a few of the wines (not as many as I would have liked but that may have been near impossible for me anyway!) and must admit that I was completely entranced by this often overlooked variety which is so incredibly special. There is not much that compares to an aged riesling in respect to softness and I think a lot of the media present agreed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A new Barossa wine book with a difference!

On Friday afternoon, the Barossa was at its best for the launch of Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd's new wine book "Barossa Wine Traveller". A balmy afternoon, unusual in winter, with the first drops of rain coming at the very end of the event, provided a great atmosphere for guests and the hosts of course, to enjoy a few glasses of wine over discussion of what a fine job Tyson and Grant had done in writing a personal wine book which promotes our beautiful area.

I had waited a few years to meet Grant as we had sent samples of our wines to him during that time and he was always extremely positive and encouraging so it was great to be able to personally thank him for his support (a great prop up in the early days when times were really tough). Both he and Tyson are exceptionally nice fellows and seemed as thrilled to have had the opportunity to create this fine book as all of the people from the Barossa wine industry were that Tyson and Grant had chosen our region to promote. The photography by Tyson and Dragan Radocaj is simply stunning and shows just how pretty our area is! It truly is a fabulous book and for a RRP of only $19.95 is a terrific gift for Father's Day or even Christmas so don't leave it until the last minute to order as they will sell out fast.

Please check out the link above to visit the official site. The photo above is of Tyson, Grant and Wayne Ahrens from Smallfry Wines. Sincere thanks to Tyson and Grant for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful and unique wine guide.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Karra Yerta Wine Events Diary - September/October 2009

Our life seems to be so full every day that I find a diary a necessity in being even somewhat on top of things. Please find the additions to my own wine diary below and again, if you are near any of the areas that are holding events mark it on your own calendar. I will add things to this page as they come to hand so check back regularly to see new entries. Please email me for any extra information regarding any event mentioned.

Friday August 28th 2009
Launch of the new wine book by Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd "Barossa Wine Traveller" in Tanunda. There is also a separate launch at Bar Barossa in Brisbane on Wednesday September 2nd 2009.

Thursday September 17th 2009
"Taste of Spring with Eden Valley Riesling
" @ Eden Valley Institute - Trade and Media tasting only. Over 75 rieslings from 35 producers, complemented with lunch prepared by Gill Radford.

Saturday 19th September 2009
Barossa Wine Show Public Tasting - 10am to 1pm @ Yalumba Winery. $25 admission includes an etched tasting glass.

Saturday October 17 2009
2009 Canberra International Riesling Challenge Public Tasting @ Albert Hall, Canberra 11am - 3pm. Public admission $20 per person which includes a tasting glass.

New reviews for our 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

In between vineyard work and bookwork I have finally had the chance to send off samples to some of the wine-writers who have tasted our previous vintages. Please find the two glowing reviews below; one from Julian Coldrey ( and Gary Walsh (

Karra Yerta 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

This wine (and winery) defines boutique in many respects. A limited run production of 170 cases, made by James Linke from Eden Valley and Barossa fruit, then blended by Pete Schell to create this quite outstanding little number. When I asked the engaging Marie Linke the intent behind this wine, her answer was "a good home brew, for ourselves, but plans change." And how.

I tasted this over two days, and recommend a good decant at the very least if drinking now. The nose is almost provocatively complex, with notes of gunpowder, barbecued meats, five-spice, lavender, mulberries and cocoa powder. It sounds cacophonous but it's more like a plaid wool blankie: textured and comforting. The aroma profile softened overnight, not becoming less complex but simply settling into its groove, less puffed out, more sophisticated. If there's a hint of volatility, it works well to lift into and penetrate the nostrils.

The palate has shown an even greater transformation with time. At first, unexpectedly bright red fruit shoots down the mouth, accompanied by the same savouriness as in the aroma, falling away a bit on the after palate. A couple of hours later, it fills out significantly, gaining weight and elegance at the same time, and losing the slightly disjointed construction I saw at first. The next day, now, it has melted into a thing of beauty, a limpid pool of dark richness that seems to dissolve onto the tongue with an impossible sense of control. The fruit flavour has gone to dark cherries, with a range of other flavours (including sappy oak) that resist being teased apart from one another. The slinky mouthfeel is a highlight here; tannins are almost excessively fine and ripe.

This is a "fall in love" sort of wine; distinctive, beautiful. I'm not going to resist.

Karra Yerta Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin

Karra Yerta 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

Tuesday, Aug 25 2009 · Posted in Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, shiraz et al

By Gary Walsh

Good old Shiraz Cabernet - the classic Australian blend that goes against the current prevailing train of thought that mono-varietal makes for superior wine. I’ve no idea why this should be the case, and I’m always surprised, and non wine bore people even more so, when I tell them that blends are ‘really good and it’s OK to drink them…really!’ There’s 170 dozen of this particular blend made.

Lots going on here - plump blueberry/dark cherry fruit, wool wash, nutty nougat oak - floral and meaty too. It’s medium to full bodied with plenty of juicy cherry jam flavour (not sweet though) mingling with a coal-like savouriness and regional eucalypt. Perfectly pitched tannin - ripe but firm - the flow through the palate and length all excellent. Bargain. Should cellar well.

Rated : 93 Points
Tasted : Aug09
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $25
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2010 - 2016+

Friday, August 21, 2009

The hills are alive, with the sound of snips (and a swooping magpie)

The past month has been really hectic, again. We have had lots of wine orders and in between labelling, invoicing and packing, the vineyard has kept us very busy; especially because the weather has been wonderful. I find that when I am working in the vineyard on such lovely days my head gets filled with all sorts of ideas and plans. Some of these come to fruition and others not, but there is definitely something very inspiring about working in such a beautiful environment with only the birds, sheep and dog around you. (Photo at right is of our dog having a rest after having a bit of a run up the steep hill!)

The pruning is coming along nicely and so far, I have kept up to James' pruning with my own tie-ing on of the vines. There is still a lot of mowing to be done unless we let the sheep in for a bit to get the grass down a little but we are going to have to be quick as the stems are starting to drip with sap so that means bud-burst is not far away (the Barossa floor has already had bud-burst on some of their vines). If you look at the photo of the vine you can just see a little drop at the end of the stem. Once this sta
rts, and the weather is warm (and our August has, I think, been the warmest on record!) it doesn't take long for the canes to get brittle and much harder to wrap (and tie on) around the wires.

Perhaps the only thing that ruins my afternoons on the hill with my loyal offsider (the black one) is the swooping magpies who are most unimpressed at this time of year. This week I have been harassed constantly by a large magpie and thus have been unable to use my mp3 player (it pays be to be able to hear the "whoosh" and accordingly "duck" as opposed to just feeling it attacking your head, from behind of course:) Never a dull moment no matter what part of the job you are doing. But still, it really is one of my favourite times of year. Everything is so pretty out here in the Barossa Ranges right now that you cannot help but feel that despite the hard work, it really is worth it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tasting Notes: 2009 Eden Valley Riesling


PRODUCT: Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling
VARIETY: Riesling
HARVESTED: March 22nd, 2009
BOTTLED: July 15, 2009
TA: 7.85 g/l
PH: 2.82
PRODUCTION: 128 cases/dozen
CELLARING: drink now to 2016

This riesling is produced from 80 year-old dry-grown, hand-picked vines. Our fourth release of riesling, the style remains in the vein of the classic riesling that the Eden Valley region is famous for. Screwcap. Samples have been sent of this wine and this page will be updated once the results are known.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eden Valley - the jewel in the Barossa's crown

Last night a meeting was held at Bucks Bistro in Springton to discuss the concept of starting up a new sub-group of the BWGA specifically for Eden Valley wine producers to help market and promote our beautiful regions fine wines. A more passionate group of people would rarely be seen and it was decided that there was definitely enough interest to proceed. Eden Valley has long been the hidden jewel in the Barossa's crown and is not really well known on the international front.

A separate GI to the Barossa, rieslings from the area have long dominated global competitions - the best example of this being Peter Lehmann's range of Eden rieslings which consistently rate amongst the best rieslings in the world.

It was wonderful to hear Louisa Rose speak of her opinions on the wines produced from our region and also see other prominent winemakers present. There is definitely a feeling that we do have something very special in our hands, and not just in regards to the rieslings produced. The Eden Valley Shirazes are also of an exceptionally high standard and some of the oldest and rarest shiraz vines in the country are from the region.

In the coming months there will be events showcasing the wines of Eden Valley and I will post information about these as they come to hand. Over the next week I will be placing a post in a wine diary format of these events, and others of significance to place on your calendar in case you are planning a trip to the Barossa.

For more information regarding Eden Valley and to see some of the wineries that are located there please go to this link: Wine Australia Eden Valley

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recipe #2: Smoked Salmon Quiche

Last night we had a bottle of riesling with dinner and this easy recipe was the perfect match. With it's delightful subtle lemon flavour it was a very refreshing meal.

I used ready-rolled pastry but it would be even more delicious with home-made pastry. Also, the recipe below is for mini-quiches; I made just one large quiche and cooked it at 170 degrees celcius (fan-forced oven) for 35 minutes. I recommend our 2007 Eden Valley Riesling with this dish.

Smoked Salmon Mini-Quiches

2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
125gram smoked salmon, chopped
1 cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons chopped dill
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Makes about 24 mini-quiches or one large quiche.

Cut circles from pastry using a 6cm cutter, press into shallow patty pans or muffin trays.

Divide smoked salmon between pastry cases. Combine creams, eggs, lemon rind, nutmeg, dill, chives, lemon pepper and black pepper, spoon over salmon (pastry cases should only be 2/3 full).

Bake in a moderately hot oven (190 degrees celcius or 170 degrees celcius fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Barossa goes to Brisbane, and so does Karra Yerta

Last weekend representatives from twenty-five different Barossa and Eden Valley wineries attended three events in Brisbane organised by Purple Palate to celebrate the opening of their new wine store, Bar Barossa.

We sent our resident red wine maker (oh, and my husband:), James. He travelled up with Steven Kurtz of Kurtz Family Vineyards and from the sounds of things they had a great weekend. A few Coopers Ales may have made our tribe feel at home I think. They also met up with the third Collective counterpart, Wayne Ahrens of Smallfry.

The events were incredibly successful and the wineries ended up showcasing their wines to almost one thousand people over the two tastings and dinner which is a remarkable feat. Many thanks to Darren Davis for his magnificent organisational skills and to the entire Purple Palate gang for making our winery people feel welcome.

Feedback from James was that our rieslings were received fantastically and everyone loved the style of it. No doubt that the Queensland lifestyle plays a part in that, and what better to have with a lovely seafood meal?

We look forward to working with Purple Palate in the future and increasing our sales to that part of the country. With the Queensland sector now covered, our wines are available all along the East Coast of Australia including Tasmania so we are absolutely over the moon with the opportunites that have come up over the past few years. Sincere thanks to all who have supported us in the current economic climate.

Special thanks to Darren for allowing me to use the accompanying photograph on this blog entry.